When the altitude begins to increase, you start expecting
snow and other related natural phenomena. Wait, you are jumping the gun
because there still is a range of altitude in between as well where you can
expect a wide range of flora in all its natural splendour that will stun you
with its beauty. Let's go towards the interiors of Garhwal Himalayas where
there is a valley spread in an area of 87.5 sq km located between the
altitudes of 3250 to 6750 meters. It is surrounded by snow capped mountains
and is among the most unusual protected reserves of India. Here you get to
see a region which is naturally carpeted by some of the rarest of the
flowers in every conceivable hue and variety.
Discovery of the Valley
Valley of Flowers is situated in the upper expansions of Bhyundar Ganga at
Uttaranchal. You'll find the mention of this visually rich valley even in
the ancient Indian texts such as Ramayana and Mahabharata as well as Indian
history. There was a time when the valley had almost disappeared from the
tourism map because of its near inaccessibility. It was in 1931 when a
British mountaineer Frank S Smith discovered it during his expedition to
Mount Kamet and it was appropriately named as Valley of Flowers by him. The
place is actually a natural bouquet of lively flowers which was declared as
a National Park in 1982.
The Route to the Valley
To reach the Valley of Flowers, the trek starts at Govind Ghat. The
picturesque valley and myriad other attractions such as wild flowers,
springs, water falls and rocky boulders become visible from Pulna onwards.
Camping and overnight stay in the valley is not allowed therefore you will
have to stay at Ghanghria overnight which also serves as your base camp.
After Ghanghria you'll have to walk, there is no other option as the ponies
are not allowed afterwards. The river Pushpawati flows through the valley
that divides it into two sections whereas the other streams serve the
purpose of irrigating the valley. There is only a single track in the valley
through which you can see the flowers. If you want to get closer, you'll
have to rub your way through the foliage but the trouble will be worth it.
There are several new valleys being formed here as well because of the
streams of the glacier water that flow through the valley.
Since you won't be allowed to stay overnight at the Valley of Flowers,
you'll have to look towards nearby places for the accommodation options
which will not disappoint you though. There are several rest houses and
tourist lodges at Joshimath and Ghanghria most of whom cannot be termed as
luxurious yet they provide adequate facilities.
Best Time to Visit
months of July and August are the best as the snow melts by this time and
the valley happens to be in full bloom. If you cannot find time in these two
months, try to make it between the months of June and October. It is that
time of the year when the weather also happens to be at its most pleasant.
How to Reach
Well, you'll have to trek for a distance of about 17 km to reach here.
Joshimath in Garhwal is the nearest town from where the railheads such as
Haridwar and Dehradun, which are about 270 km away, can be easily accessed.
You can hire vehicles from Joshimath that will leave you at Gobind Ghat.
From here, a trek of about 14 km brings you to Ghanghriya which is the
nearest settlement from the Valley of Flowers.